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A New Step in Service Learning: SC Joins eArmyU

A Southwestern College degree will be available to active Army personnel throughout the world with the announcement Dec. 31 that Southwestern has been selected as one of 32 colleges and universities in the United States approved to participate in eArmyU.

Southwestern’s pastoral studies degree, offered online through the professional studies program, will be an option to soldier-students beginning July 7. Although exact projections of enrollment figures are not possible, organizers have speculated that several hundred enrollments in this degree program are within reach. In all, about 70,000 servicemen are expected to participate in all of the eArmyU offerings.

As participants in the eArmyU program, active servicemen are provided tuition and technical assistance (such as laptop and Internet access) to take online courses wherever they are deployed. Only 32 colleges and universities survived an extensive application and screening process to become eArmyU providers, including such prestigious institutions as Indiana University, and UCLA.

“We were in exactly the right place at the right time with our leadership in online learning, and this allowed us to be able to show during the selection process that we are able to provide the classes and services that will make the online degree possible,” says Karen Pedersen, vice president for professional studies.

Soldier-students will access their courses through the Internet, in the same way students in SC’s six online majors complete classes. Assignments are completed and submitted online, and online discussions with classmates and instructors provide a learning community for the learners.

“We feel our pastoral studies degree is excellent preparation for persons who hope someday to be chaplains,” Pedersen says, “but it also is appropriate for individuals who are looking to pastor a church following their service commitments and want to be ready to apply for seminary, or simply for enlisted personnel who are interested in strengthening their own personal faiths.”

The initial selection as an eArmyU provider was an important milestone, as the college hopes to eventually increase the number of degrees approved for enrollment by service personnel, Pedersen adds. For example, the new security management degree (offered both online and in traditional classes) would seem to be a logical choice for persons with military experience, she says.

For more information on eArmyU, see the Web site at www.sckans.edu/eArmyU, or call professional studies, (316) 684-5335.

SC Tightens Budget Belt

The slumping economy and a smaller-than-expected freshman class have combined to prompt tightened budgets at Southwestern College.

The college has reduced its $15 million budget by $500,000, and in January the SC Board of Trustees approved a budget and financial plan designed to ensure continued financial viability.

“No institution or business is immune to outside economic forces, and we have to tighten our belts like every other organization is doing right now,” says President Dick Merriman.
Although total enrollment at the college set a record during the fall of 2002, the 1,306 headcount was largely due to outstanding numbers in professional studies, graduate, and online programs. The freshman class was about 30 students less than had been expected based on previous year enrollments.

Preserving the Southwestern student’s educational experience has been paramount as administrators examined where budget cuts could be made, Merriman emphasizes. No faculty positions were lost; financial aid was given top priority.

Reductions, instead, came mostly from support and auxiliary programs. The Horsefeathers and Applesauce summer dinner theatre program, for example, reduced its schedule to one production from four. The college also is in negotiations with the Winfield school district (Unified School District 465) to have the school take over operation of the swimming pool in White Physical Education Building. The high school uses the facility extensively for its swim teams, while the college utilizes it only a few hours each semester. (No other KCAC school has a pool.)

Several staff positions were eliminated, and duties of these persons have been reassigned to other personnel.

“Decisions like these are painful, but we feel confident that as the college comes through this situation Southwestern will be stronger,” Merriman says. “In the meantime, we especially need the financial support of our alumni and friends.”

Southwestern Communications Efforts Earn Top Awards

Southwestern College went head-to-head with major universities throughout the Midwest in the annual Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VI awards program, and came away with three gold and two silver awards.

Results of the competition were announced Jan. 14 in Kansas City.

As the preeminent professional organization for alumni, communications, and fundraising professionals in higher education, CASE attracts entries from throughout the eight-state Mid-America District to its annual competition. Schools are not divided by enrollment.

SC’s winning entries included:

Gold — Excellence in Communications, Periodicals: The Southwesterner, Sara Weinert, editor; Sunni Sheets, designer; Joni Rankin, news bureau coordinator; Rhett Joy, Web producer; Ralph Decker and Nan Hinson (institutional advancement staff members), alumni notes editors.
Gold — Excellence in Writing, Speech: “We Chose You: The President’s Address to Freshmen” by Dick Merriman.
Gold — Excellence in Fundraising Materials, Video: “Builders of Excellence,” Gerret Warner and Mimi Gredy, Warner and Company, producers.
Silver — Excellence in Graphic Design, Periodicals: The Southwesterner, Sunni Sheets, designer.
Silver — Excellence in Fundraising Materials, Brochures: “Builders of Excellence,” Susan Burdick, designer; Sara Weinert, editor.

“Being recognized as having the best entries among so many outstanding communications programs is a real tribute to the Southwestern team,” says Sara Weinert, vice president for communications. “Our communications staff is only four persons, so to put out a product that is judged better than entries from universities that have staffs many times larger than ours is especially gratifying.”

In the publications category, for example, The Southwesterner shared the gold award with Iowa State University, and was judged above silver- and bronze-winning entries from the University of Kansas, Fort Hays State University, and the University of North Dakota. Other award-winning institutions in the competition included Kansas State University, Wichita State University, St. Louis University, Nebraska Wesleyan, Colorado College, the University of Wyoming, and Emporia State University.

New Professional Studies Majors

Two new majors have been approved for Southwestern College’s professional studies program, underlining the agility in learning professional studies brings to the adult learner.

Degree completion majors in security management and in operations management will be available both online and in the traditional classroom settings, beginning in July.

The two majors were chosen following extensive market research, and were approved by the Professional Studies Academic Council. The council also approved phasing out the production management degree that had been offered in professional studies.

“We were intrigued by these majors because of the emerging employment opportunities for graduates in these areas,” says Karen Pedersen, vice president for professional studies. “We feel our learners will have a unique set of skills that they will be able to apply in a full range of settings with both majors.

“We target an audience of adult learners, many of them interested in second careers, and these majors are ideal to that audience.”

The operations management major was selected as a logical evolution of the production management degree. Demand and need for the production degree had largely waned, Pedersen explained, and the broader focus of the operations management degree will make it attractive to persons in settings outside of manufacturing or production. Although some of the same courses will apply, persons in operations management will be able to use their degrees in service fields (such as banking), retail, or other fields.

The security management field is seen as one with huge potential, Pedersen says. With increased attention being focused on this area, persons with education and experience in security management are expected to be in high demand.

“Security management degrees often are only offered at a graduate level,” she says. “We are unique in that our online program will allow the focus of the major to be a generalist approach. If a learner graduates with this degree, the next logical step might be a graduate degree in some specialization such as information security, or personal security. We wanted to be able to provide a solid baccalaureate program that transcended all of the areas of security management, a solid foundation that is very employable.”

Market research completed before the degrees were proposed included gathering input from a wide range of employers, trustees, graduates, company representatives, and other experts in the field. Benchmark colleges were surveyed to compare potential curricula and interest.

For more information on either of the majors or on any professional studies or online programs, visit Southwestern’s Web site at www.sckans.edu, e-mail prostudy@sckans.edu, or call (316) 684-5335.

Summer Camp Program Enters Fourth Year

A plan to make give summer opportunities available at Southwestern College to talented high school and middle school students has entered its fourth year, and the number and focus of offerings continues to increase.

“The activities with youth really make the campus come alive during the summer,” says Sue Simmons, director of conferences and summer programs. “We see a vitality on the hill that we simply don’t see if we don’t reach out to persons who aren’t normally part of the college community.”

For the summer of 2004 the SC Summer Academy will expand to include six camps that have tie-ins to academic programs on the main campus. New this year are the P.A.L. (Primer for Aspiring Lawyers) camp, and The Gathering for students with interest in Christian ministry.

The academy is aimed at high school students, grades 9 to 12, with interest in specific careers. Held during the month of June, it involves SC faculty in teaching special topics and involving participants in hands-on activities. The schedule includes:

• June 1-4, P.A.L. (Pre-Law) camp.
• June 8-11, athletic training camp.
• June 8-13, environmental biology camp.
• June 15-20, Rotary youth leadership/Leadership Southwestern camp.
• June 19-21, The Gathering youth ministry event.
• June 23-38, Horsefeathers and Applesauce high school workshop.

The academy offerings not only give participants the opportunity to engage with a specific academic field, but also gives them a taste of what college will be like, Simmons adds.

“We encourage them to have a college-bound attitude, she says.”

Summer activities don’t end with the academy, though. Music faculty will follow up last summer’s successful day camps in flute and strings with offerings in voice and piano, and coach Doug Hall will offer a boys basketball camp. Middle schoolers who wish to participate with the Horsefeathers and Applesauce company will have that opportunity June 23-28.

The campus will be site of the state FCA football and basketball camps, as well as camps offered by the Winfield Wrestling Club, and the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council (girls basketball, volleyball, and football).

In all, more than 1,000 students are expected to call SC home during June and July.

“It’s exciting to have faculty and students getting involved in the summer,” Simmons adds. “Seeing the campus come alive this way is something I wouldn’t want to miss.”

For more information on any of the summer offerings, call Simmons at (620) 229-6141, or e-mail her at ssimmons@sckans.edu.